Game of drones – why trying to grow chilis in Europe is just plain silly

In general I don’t care about the weather. I have never followed the reports as they are usually wrong anyway, and the weather here is so fickle that trying to predict it just seems silly. However, its been horrible long enough for me to start taking an interest. The weather forecast for the next 5 days:  temperatures will hover around a stable 10°C, there will be rain of around 0.5 litres an hour in 0.3mm – 0.6mm droplets and there will be the odd thunderstorm just to lighten the mood, so we don’t be bored. My interest in the weather now stems from a chili plant interest started last year, a recent obsession.   I ordered seeds from

As I like to do these things properly and I like buying new gear that reminds me of lab stuff,  I bought a small indoor greenhouse and a heating mat, some vermiculite and other stuff. I got loads of chili varieties I’d never heard of, because they sounded cool and I was curious and it’s fun to watch things grow.  So absent lab equipment I heat  soil and grow seeds and nurture larva.

The chili plants grew slowly and by the time the harvest was ready it was November and there wasn’t enough sun to ripen the fruit.  Chili plants are perennial so I took them indoors, stuck matchsticks in the soil (they like sulphur apparently) and bought some grow lamps. The winter was spent fighting spider mites, fungus gnats, and soil on the floor. But I had a plan: as soon as the sun came out I’d be ahead of the curve with my purple hungarian chilis and chocolote habaneros, it was a good plan really. This is what I was hoping for:

Photos from jungleseeds website:

ChiliAnaheimCapsicum PurpleJalapenochilibirdeye

So my chilis are suffering because of the weather and the only thing that cheers me mildly is that the weather Gods are punishing all of Europe equally, there isn’t much more than the odd ray of sun to be seen anywhere in Europe  And if against all odds you do see the sun and you hurry outside to bask, you need your woolly jumper on, so that you don’t turn into an ice sculpture while your arms reach out to touch the imagined warmth. A reflection of the economic situation possibly?

I know I am in the wrong zone to plant chilis, BUT in my defense I spent years doing  research where 98% of your experiments go wrong. And it is all worth it for the 2%.  In a lab you learn that if you tweak and fiddle, add a bit more Magnesium Chloride or change the temperatures a bit sometimes you get a cool result, where before there was nothing. And you can build and prove/disprove all kinds of hypotheses.  However, even the most hardened optimist at some point will see the light, although not just yet….BUT  if at some point in the future I start blogging from the Caribbean and writing about passiflora and  sun, sand and soursop (yes really, google the fruit, it tastes lovely) cocktails and lovely  botanical gardens, you will know why :).


2 thoughts on “Game of drones – why trying to grow chilis in Europe is just plain silly

    • Hi Thumbelina
      My chili plants are ok, big leaves, ok growth, but no flowers yet and temperature is around 5° C today, so I have no hope they are going to go into growth spurt mode. But I will upload some pictures so you can see 🙂
      Thanks a lot for your comment, I am sure you never have issues growing chilis where you are in the world, sigh …

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